What If I Can’t Afford My Child Support Payments?
Child support is meant to provide children with the financial support they need to cover the costs of daily living essentials. If the child lives primarily with one parent, the non-custodial parent might be required to make a payment each month to help cover the cost of living, education expenses, medical expenses, and so on. As much as the court system aims to make these payments fair for both parties, that isn’t always the case. Sometimes circumstances change, or parents might be asked to pay more than they are able – resulting in serious financial issues, the inability to pay other bills, and other problems that make it even more difficult to support the child.
The goal of child support is not to rob the paying parent of their financial means, so if you think you are overpaying, you have every right to take action.
Understanding Oregon Child Support Laws
In Oregon, both parents are required to take financial responsibility for their child. In most cases, the non-custodial parent will make child support payments to the other parent, though there are sometimes exceptions to this rule. The amount of support the parent pays varies greatly in a case-by-case basis, but may depend on the income of each parent, the amount of time the child spends with each parent, the financial needs of the child, and several other factors. For example, if the child is ill and requires a substantial amount of medical care, the payments may be higher because the child’s need is greater.
As a rule, child support payments, along with the contribution from the custodial parent, must cover the child’s medical care, health insurance, childcare, and any other necessities.
Parents are required to pay child support until the child reaches the age of 18 and becomes a legal adult. However, sometimes child support may continue after this age if the child requires financial assistance for college or other post-secondary education.
Challenging a Child Support Order
When the child’s parents split up, divorce, or legally separate, they will need to settle their new parenting responsibilities legally. When the child support arrangement is issued as an official court order, the court order is legally binding and cannot be changed or broken. If either parent breaks a court order, they could face serious legal repercussions.
In order to change court-ordered child support, you must seek a legal modification. To petition for a modification, there must have been a significant chance in circumstances affecting the child and/or the parents.
Reasons a parent may seek a child support modification include:
- Child custody has been changed
- Either parent’s income has changed
- The residential schedule has changed
- The child’s age has changed, resulting in a change in needs
- Either parent is now responsible for additional children
- The child’s financial needs have changed
If you are paying too much in child support, a family law attorney can help you seek a legal modification.
To learn more about your child support matter, the family attorneys at McKinley Irvin can review your circumstance, ascertain whether your situation warrants a child support modification, and build a solid case in your favor. We understand how challenging child support cases can be, which is why we want to make the process as simple and efficient as possible.
Contact McKinley Irvin at our Oregon office to meet with our experienced child support lawyers.